What is Typography in Web Design: A Beginner’s Guide by Gapsy

6minutes read
what is typography in web design

Typography is a phenomenon that often goes unnoticed but doesn’t lose its importance in design. To get the perfect web design, it’s the skill of selecting a text font and all the associated factors, like size, type, alignment, and others.

The text should carry a particular message to the reader. Typography turns it into a compelling visual element that becomes a powerful tool in the designer’s hands.

This article will discuss what typography is, its types, and its elements. We’ll also understand why typography is so essential for design.

What is typography?

Website design consists of 95% typography. Typography is the artfulness of bringing the text to life. Its main task is to place letters and the text to become readable, pleasant, and straightforward to visual perception by the users—many factors are taken into account during the process: style, size, the color of the font. In addition, designers use typography to increase the design aesthetics and uniqueness through the text and evoke certain emotions to the content.

Difference between typeface and font

Typeface and font are often misleading because they are similar to each other. But what is the difference?

typography design elements
typeface and font difference

Typefaces and fonts are different things. Fonts are part of a typeface.

A typeface is a different family of fonts. It’s a set of symbols and signs. In other words, it’s all the letters, numbers, punctuation, and other things we can use to compose a sentence.

A font is inside a typeface — a set of symbols hastily.

For example, Times New Roman is a typeface, but Times New Roman Bold is a font.

Thus, the typeface is responsible for the single style category of the text, while the font is responsible for the lettering, size, weight, width, and height of the letters.

If designers want to combine several fonts, they should ensure that the typeface matches the X-axis.

what is typography
typography building

Types of typography

Typefaces, dividing into several types. Each has specific characteristics and appearance that distinguish it from the other.

Four main typography types are:

  • Serif typeface;
  • Sans serif typeface;
  • Script typeface;
  • Display typeface.

Serif typefaces

type of typography
example of typography type

The serif fonts get their name from the tiny strokes that are extensions of the main part of the letter. Serif fonts, as a rule, are used for the body of the text and headings. However, there is a constant debate about the readability of this typeface type, so it’s preferred not to use it for large blocks of text.

In their turn, serif fonts include the following subspecies:

typography types
serif typeface type
  • Old Style serifs: this is one of the most senior types of typography. Its peculiarity is the diagonal stress.
  • Transitional serifs: this is one of the most popular serif fonts. The distinction between thick and thin strokes has become more pronounced. Times New Roman is a transitional serif typeface.
  • Modern serifs: modern serif typefaces have a pronounced transition between thick and thin lines and vertical accentuation.
  • Slab serifs: the transition between the thin and thick lines is almost invisible, and the serifs themselves have a rectangular shape.

Sans-Serif typefaces

This type, hence its name, has no—additional strokes to the main letter.

The sans serif type is a more modern font. In addition, it’s more readable on smartphone and computer screens.

type of typography
sans-serif typeface

Sans-serif typeface is divided into:

  • Grotesque;
  • Neo-grotesque;
  • Humanist;
  • Geometric.

Script typeface

The script font is based on handwriting. Its distinctive feature is the smoothness and softness of the letters’ softness.

typography web design examples
script typeface

The script typeface is divided into two types:

  • Formal
  • Casual

Display typeface

Display or decorative typeface is most suitable for small texts that need attention or for a headline. This typeface was used during the creation of the graphic design or print design.

examples of typography type
display type

Read how to make typography for your website in our blog.

Typography elements

Seven essential typography design elements affect the visual perception of the text:

1) Contrast

Contrast can be used to convey a basic idea, evoke certain emotions, and get the reader’s attention. Creating contrast may seem like an easy task, but you should be very careful during the process. For example, don’t use too many contrasting colors, like black and white. It would be too cutting to the reader’s eye. In that case, it’s better to replace black with gray.

Finding contrast isn’t just taking two dramatically different colors.

There is a little test to see if your contrast is favorable or not. During designing, convert your colors to grayscale. If the colors start to merge, they don’t fit together.

Read more about choosing the correct UI color for your product in our blog.

elements of typography
role of contrast in typography

2) Font size

The font size of the web page is significant. It’s responsible for the readability of the text. The excellent size for the body text of the website is 16 pixels.

Font size is also responsible for the content hierarchy. For example, you can highlight important information and draw the reader’s attention by assigning different sizes and colors to a specific paragraph or words.

3) Leading

In web design, this is called line-height. Leading is the vertical distance between lines of text.

Each of us has heard such terms as single or double-spacing. It can also be expressed in pixels.

typography leading
example of leading in typography

4) Kerning

Kerning is the distance between the individual letters and symbols. Each word requires a separate setting because each letter behaves differently, especially when working with a header.

5) Hierarchy

The hierarchy is highlighted by size, color, and spaces. In web design, you can establish the order by <H1>, <H2>, <H3> headers, and so on. Use the hierarchy to highlight accents in the text. It also guides the reader, showing him where to start and which path to follow.

6) Tracking

Tracking, as a kerning, shows the distance between letters. But this is a more general function. It adjusts the spacing between all the letters in the text, not between individual letters. So the well-known name of tracking is letter spacing.

7) Alignment

It also affects the overall picture. Alignment is necessary for the text to be the same size and occupy its place in the webspace.

Why is typography important in web design?

We visit websites with a specific motivation. The first that we can see is text. It should be not only informative but also visually appealing. Let’s discuss the essential points about the importance of typography in web design.

It keeps the user’s attention

Typography is a tool to attract attention. For example, it can set accents and highlight words and phrases in a design.

M-media is a sterling example of catchy website design. The fascinating animation and skillfully made typography will not leave users indifferent.

typography web design examples
typography web design examples

It makes the text readable

Text readability is essential for web pages. The wrong font can ruin the design of the entire page and make it visually unresponsive to users. The text should be easy and quick to scan by readers. Incorrect alignment, small letters, and too much line spacing can prevent this.

Increases uniqueness and recognition

When you launch your product on the market with existent competition, recognition will give you a head start. With typography, you can make your brand unique by sticking to your style in the font design of the logo or website.

You can read how to design an outstanding logo in our blog.

A great example of a well-known logo would be the Disney company’s logo.

why typography is essential in web design
importance of typography

Defines text mood

The text carries out information, and its design helps to convey the mood or emotion that the content suggests. You can use typography to express your company’s goals.

Apps are beautiful web typography examples and stunning animation websites. We immediately see the message and the company’s mood. The micro-interactions with the keyboard buttons engage the user and encourage them to interact with the site.

great web typography examples
example of catching web typography

Also, you can read more about Microinteractions in Design on our blog.

Increase conversion

Typography affects the way we relate to the content. Text that is visually easy to read is more trustworthy than text that is difficult to read. In this way, you can increase conversion rates. Calls to action on your website that visually evoke favorable emotions will be more effective.


Typography is an integral part of good web page design. It fills the site with life. Typography is a tool that you need to know how to use. Using it correctly will make a text a set of letters and messages with particular emotions and purposes. Contact us, and Gapsy designers create fantastic website designs with great typography. Check out the finished projects on Behance and Dribbble. And also take a look at the services we provide.

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